It started with a sore throat, as it always does. On a Wednesday, of all days. Peter didn’t exactly take much notice of it, which he may have done had it not been for the plethora of assignments that currently hung over his head. He just forced down a cup of ginger tea (nasty stuff) and hurried out of the apartment to catch the train to school.
It wasn’t until he was walking across the football field, a tickle in his throat, that Peter came to the realization that he hadn’t gotten sick since before the bite. For a while he’d thought that maybe he couldn’t get sick anymore, but he supposed that was out the window now. And when a cough forced its way from his throat, leaving him wincing slightly, all he could think about was the really inconvenient timing.
Trying to get work done with an irritated throat was one thing, but then the headache snuck up on him, developing into steady, faint throb by fifth period. He hoped desperately that this was going to be it - he couldn’t afford to take time off school right now - but he had a feeling more was coming.
Sure enough, the following morning, he woke to a faint ache throughout his body and kicked the blankets off himself to cool down a bit, despite the grey skies outside his window. When he staggered out into the kitchen to make himself breakfast, May raised her eyebrows at him.
“You don’t look so good, baby. You think you’re okay for school?”
Peter nodded his head, trying to make his voice sound as normal as possible, “I’m fine, May. Just a bit of a cold. Besides, I really can’t miss class right now.”
“Alright,” she pressed her lips together. “But call me if you need anything. If it gets much worse, I might see if I can get out of the trip. It’s last minute, but I’m sure they can fill the spot.”
“No, no, don’t do that,” Peter hastily shook his head. “Really, May, I’m fine. I can take care of myself. Besides, I know you’re super excited about those seminars.”
“We’ll see. You’re going to the tower this afternoon, right? Maybe you can ask Tony if he can keep an eye on you.”
“May!” he whined, ducking away from her hand that reached to feel his forehead. “It’s just a cold! you don’t need to cancel the trip and you definitely don’t need to bring Mister Stark into this. That’s just embarrassing. He’s not my nanny.”
“You’ve got a point,” she agreed thoughtfully, a teasing smile pulling at her lips. “I’ll see about getting you a nanny then.”
“You’re uncharacteristically quiet,” Happy commented, ten minutes after picking the teenager up from school.
Peter let out a small chuckle, only to wince slightly at the pain in his throat. “I’ve just got a bit of a cold, but I’m fine.”
The man just gave him an unimpressed look. “Alright, but don’t go spreading that around. That’s the last thing I need right now.”
“Yeah, you and me both,” he sighed, leaning back.
When Peter walked into the lab, Mister Stark looked up at him with a smile, only to instantly narrow his eyes. And, look, to be honest, he was beginning to feel a bit offended at this point. Did he really look that bad? Without a word, the man just pulled a small bottle out of the draw beside him and threw it to Peter. Reading the label, he rolled his eyes, but squeezed some of the hand sanitiser into his palm and rubbed his hands together. He offered the bottle back to Mister Stark, but he shook his head.
“That’s yours now. You look like you’ll need it.”
“Ouch,” he frowned. “I don’t look that bad, do I?”
“No, but I know you and I know you always downplay everything so I’m just being cautious. Are you sure you wanna be here, kid? You’ll feel better sooner if you just rest.”
“Is this you trying to get rid of me?”
“No, Underoos,” Mister Stark rolled his eyes. “I just don’t want you working yourself to death.”
“I’m fine, Mister Stark, really,” Peter promised. “Besides, May’s a nurse, remember? I’m in good hands.”
“Okay, but I’m making you tea. Apparently lemon and ginger is great for colds.”
Peter groaned, letting his head drop onto his desk.
About two hours later, when Mister Stark brought him a fresh mug of tea, Peter gripped it tightly, holding it close to him for warmth, web shooters cast aside, forgotten about. The older man gave him a calculating look.
“Just twenty minutes ago you were taking off your jacket and now your all wrapped up again and practically cuddling that mug?” he asked suspiciously, reaching out a hand to feel Peter’s forehead. He went to dodge it, but something about that took too long to process, and suddenly the back of Mister Stark’s cold hand was pressed against his clammy forehead. “Okay, you’re done. FRI, what’s his temp?”
“Peter’s body temperature is currently one hundred point six degrees Fahrenheit.”
Mister Stark let out a sigh. “Alright, call his aunt, let her know he’s staying the night.”
Peter’s eyes widened. “What? No! Mister Stark, it’s not that bad, honest. It’s just a cold. I’ve got super-healing, remember? I’ll be fine. Besides, like I said, she’s a nurse, she’ll wanna be able to keep an eye on me. You’re a genius and all, but this is her area, anyway.”
In his defence, none of that was a lie, per se. Mister Stark didn’t need to know that May was leaving the next day for a three-day seminar interstate. If he did, Peter was sure that he would insist on keeping Peter in the tower, and he really didn’t want the man to have to deal with him with the flu.
“Fine,” the billionaire conceded. “I’ll have Happy take you home. Then I’ll see about getting the lab thoroughly sanitised. And don’t even think about patrolling for the next few days.”
A sarcastic ‘yes, dad’ teetered on the tip of Peter’s tongue, before he realised what he was about to say and snapped his mouth shut and nodded. “Thanks, Mister Stark. Sorry for… contaminating the place.”
“Just take care of yourself, alright, Pete? Rest, stay hydrated… all that shit. And if your aunt gets sick of you, you’re welcome to come here.”
He doubted that would happen, but gave the man a dry smile anyway “Thanks.”
After dinner, Peter tried to get some work done. He really did. But when May had come in to check on him, only to find him asleep at his desk, clammy forehead sticking to his maths book, she forced him to go to bed, despite his protests. To be fair, he knew that he could barely get anything done in his state, but sitting in front of his work staring blankly at it somehow felt more productive than going to bed to rest. Although a substantial part of him felt too tired to shower, Peter felt quite gross and knew he’d regret it in the morning if he didn’t, so he reluctantly dragged himself into the shower, placing a hand on the tiled wall to hold himself up. He cleaned his teeth for what he estimated was somewhere between 20 and 30 seconds before he decided his teeth could wait but bed could not.
There were many words Peter could choose from to describe how he felt when he woke up the following morning. However, he decided that the most accurate and comprehensive word was ‘shit’. Though, if swear words weren’t allowed, then ‘deathy’ would suffice. He was pretty sure ‘deathy’ was not actually a word, but if ‘chillax’ is accepted by the Oxford English dictionary then surely it’d make its way in there eventually.
Despite Peter’s quite rigorous shivers, it felt like his whole body was damp with sweat. His throat felt like someone had shoved sandpaper down it, all his muscles felt achy and weak, and his nose felt stuffy too. He lifted his head up to look at the time, only to find that his skull suddenly seemed very heavy and flopped back down exhaustedly. He desperately wanted some water to soothe his throat, but moving was really tiring and he didn’t want to leave the warmth of his bed.
Fortunately, it was only a few minutes later that May knocked on his door. He let out some interpretive noise that she apparently understood correctly as a ‘come in’ and stopped suddenly in the doorway when she saw him.
“I don’t think I have to tell you this,” she began, “but you’re definitely not going to school today.”
She came back a few seconds later with some ibuprofen, a glass of water with a straw and a thermometer, not even saying a word before, handing him the pills, pushing the straw in front of his lips and then placing the thermometer under his tongue.
“You’re at one hundred and two point five,” she muttered with a frown, shaking her head slightly. “I’m cancelling the trip, I’m not leaving you like this.”
“No, no, no,” Peter croaked. “I’m okay, May, I can look after myself. It’s just a slight fever.”
“It could get worse,” May argued gently, brushing his damp hair back. “I know you can look after yourself, hun, but I don’t want you to. What kind of parent would I be if I left you alone looking like this?”
Peter forced a playful grin. “Devilishly handsome?”
“Like shit,” she corrected bluntly, rolling her eyes at him. “It’s not a big deal, Peter, there’ll be other opportunities like this.”
“I don’t want you to miss out because of me. I’ll be fine, honest. And if it does get worse, I’ll call Mister Stark.” He really hoped it didn’t get worse because he wasn’t planning on living up to that promise at all. “Besides, you’re meant to leave in a few hours, it’d definitely be too late to fill your spot now and it’d just be a waste. I’m not dying or anything, I’m just a bit sick, but I’ll start getting better soon and then you’ll have missed out for no reason.”
“Having peace of mind that you’re okay will never be a waste, Peter,” May said firmly.
“I’ll call you, then. I’ll call you every night and you can get updates and tell me what I should be doing and be reassured that I’m okay. How ‘bout that?”
The woman let out a sigh, looking conflicted. “Fine. But if I see fit, I’m coming back early, alright? And make sure Tony knows what’s going on just in case.”
“Okay,” Peter agreed softly.
“I love you.”
“I love you too.”
Peter was not doing well late that night. In his defence, he really thought he would be getting better by now. He had thought his healing factor would have kicked in by now and that he wouldn’t have gotten this sick in the first place. Instead, he seemed to be getting progressively worse, his temperature spikes growing more severe, his muscles growing achier, his breath growing shorter and his throat growing more painful. Not to mention the mucus he kept coughing up. His chest had started to hurt from all the coughing, and no amount of water relieved it. When May called him from her hotel room, he had to fight her again to stay, insisting he was fine and could take care of himself and that he sounded worse thane felt (a lie).
A day later, there was still no change, and Peter had hardly eaten a thing. This was for a number of reasons: 1) despite feeling hungry and knowing he needed to eat, he really didn’t feel like it. He was simultaneously ravenous and disgusted by the idea of eating and it was a very conflicting time. 2) just swallowing his own spit hurt his throat, swallowing fluids irritated it even more, he could only imagine how agoniizng trying to get anything more substantial than milk down. And 3) he highkey could not be bothered. Partly due to his perpetual weakness and exhaustion, but also because of the steady ache in his muscles that triggered protest whenever he tried to leave his bed.
So, no, he hadn’t showered since Thursday night, but he was the only one home and given the fact that he wasn’t leaving his bed, his stink would be confined to his bedroom.
Although he was expecting it, when his phone rang and May’s contact lit up the screen, he panicked a little.
“Hello,” he practiced to himself, shaking his head when it came out weak and croaky. He tried a couple more times to try and make his voice sound more normal, but to no avail. He just stared blankly at the ringing phone trying to figure out what to do until it stopped ringing, and his panic rose slightly. If he texted to say he was in the shower or in another room when she called, she would just call back again, but if he ignored it, he knew the woman would probably fret and assume he was dying. Mind you, it didn’t feel too far from the truth.
He needed to respond with something that would reassure her he was okay while also giving an excuse not to call her and not being suspicious as hell about it.
Hey May! I’m okay, but my voice is gone right now so I can’t actually talk.
I can come back, it’s really not a problem
I’m beginning to feel better, my voice is just really weak but I’m okay. There’s no point coming back now.
Alright but let me know if you need anything.
Peter really did hate lying to May, but he didn’t want her missing out on the seminars just because he was sick. Just as he was contemplating the effort of getting up to get another glass of water, his phone rang again, this time it was Mister Stark. He definitely didn’t want him to know how sick he was, because he knew the man would feel some kind of obligation to take care of him and he also didn’t want to be seen in this state - he was Spider-Man, after all. So he didn’t have to wait for it to ring out, Peter declined the call and started to write a text to explain why he couldn’t answer. He was just about to send it when a notification for a voicemail popped up.
“Kid, what the hell?” Mister Stark demanded. “I just got a call from your aunt asking me to check up on you because apparently you’re very unwell and she’s in fucking Michigan for work, which you conveniently failed to mention when you insisted she’d want to keep an eye on you. And she thinks you’re not being honest and now you fucking decline my call? So help me God, Peter Parker, if you don’t call me back in ten minutes I am flying over there in a suit and you will not like it.”
Peter cringed, and deleted the text he had been about to send.
Sorry Mister Stark, I just didn’t want you to worry or feel like you had to take care of me or anything. I’m okay, but my voice is gone at the moment so that’s why I declined the call. Figured it’d freak you out if you tried to talk to me and just heard wheezing on the other end lol
I’m coming over.
I’m fine, Mister Stark, I’m just resting and stuff. It’s late and I’m about to go to sleep anyway.
If you want people to take you seriously when you say ‘I’m fine’ maybe you shouldn’t say it so often when you’re definitely not fine.
¯\_( ツ )_/¯
Stop using that thing to respond to everything. And fine but I’m coming over tomorrow. Call me if you need something before then though.
Yea okay, I’ll cough in morse code if I still can’t talk
I’m serious kid
So am I 😤
Lmao that wasn’t a sneeze Mister Stark, it’s a huff of frustration
Goodnight Mister Stark
Night kiddo. Sleep well.
Peter had thought Saturday was bad, but come Sunday morning, he knew he wasn’t okay. He had been so confident that he would feel at least a bit better, but instead he woke up with the instinctual feeling that something was wrong. He wasn’t exactly sure why this feeling way only now, considering how he had hardly been in a decent state yesterday, but then his heart rate and breathing were even more erratic than yesterday, and the sharp pain in his chest was certainly knew.
He wondered vaguely if he had simply coughed so much that his lungs had been dislodged from their usual position. That would make sense. And look, Peter knew that shivering violently while simultaneously sweating was not a great sign, but by now, he had insisted he was fine so many times that now he’d be facing ‘I told you so’s if it turned that he was not, in fact, okay. Though, at this point, that wasn’t so much of a hypothetical as a fact.
He was not okay, and it was probably time he asked for help, especially considering the fact he hadn’t eaten in over twenty four hours or had a drink on about fourteen, which was very bad news for someone with his metabolism.
Peter fumbled for his phone, opening Mister Stark’s contact and pressing the call button.
It rang. And rang. And rang. And rang.
“You know who I am and you know what to do.”
“I just don’t think meetings should be allowed on Sundays - FRI, do not disturb - I mean, who wants to attend meetings on a Sunday? I certainly don’t.”
Pepper sighed exasperatedly. “As you’ve abundantly clear. Besides, some people have very schedules and don’t have another option.”
“Hey, I have a busy schedule,” Tony defended as the pair walked towards one of the conference rooms.
“Take time in the lab out of that.”
Tony paused. “It’s a bit less busy. But that’s besides the point! My lab time is very important, that’s where I give birth to my brainchildren.”
“Ugh, please never say that again. And I literally saw you and Peter setting up a blanket fort in there one time.”
“He’s a kid!”
“That’s fine, but the problem is you act like a kid too when you’re a grown man.”
“I mean… I never actually grew a whole lot.”
“Exhibit A,” Pepper scowled.
“Anyway, that kid has come down with something and his aunt is away for work so if we could wrap this up quickly so I can make sure he hasn’t sneezed himself unconscious, that would be great.”
“Come down with what? A cold?”
“Something like that. He had a bit of a fever when he came over on Thursday, maybe it’s the flu.”
“Poor thing,” she frowned.
“When I’m sick you always just tell me to woman up,” Tony grumbled.
“And yet…Mr Burgess, Miss Doyle, hi,” she greeted as they walked into the room, shooting Tony a pointed look.
He plastered on a fake smile as he offered his hand and hoped this would be over quickly.
As it turned out, it was not over quickly. When the two finally left, Tony sighed heavily and slumped back in his seat.
“I do appreciate you being here,” Pepper acknowledged, giving him a small smile. “I know you hate these, so thank you for not making an excuse not to come. Anyway, I need to finish writing my speech for the benefit, but keep me updated on the kid.”
“Yeah, of course. I’ll make dinner tonight?”
Pepper glanced down at her watch and gave him a teasing grin. “It’s nearly noon, Tony, you’d better get started then.”
Tony rolled his eyes, but pressed a gently kiss to her lips before she left. He frowned when he checked his phone and saw he had a voicemail from Peter, eyebrows furrowing in concern.
“Mis-Mister Stark,” he rasped, and Tony’s heart seized. “I dont- I don’t feel well, something’s… wrong. Everything- I can’t-… hurts….”
God, he sounded miserable and the kid’s sniffled told him he was in tears. The message was from nearly two hours ago. Tony swallowed harshly, already jogging out the door, trying not to panic.
Something’s wrong, Peter had said, his tone desperate.
“FRIDAY, why wasn’t I alerted?” he demanded.
“Your current ‘Do Not Disturb’ protocol mutes all calls except those related to Avengers-level threats and emergencies.”
“From now on, all calls from Peter come through, no matter what.”
“Yes, Boss. Protocol amended.”
“Call him,” he ordered, getting into one of his cars.
Peter picked up on the third ring, his voice croaky, but relieved. “Mister Stark?”
“Kid, what’s going on? What’s wrong?”
“I’m… I don’t feel so good, Mister Stark. I thought- I thought I’d be better by now but I just keep getting worse and I don’t feel right. Like obviously I feel like- like shit, but it’s like my spider sense is kicking up now and- I can’t explain it, but I’m scared Mister Stark."
“I’ll be there soon, Pete. I’m on my way, okay?” I’ll take care of you. “We’ll take care of this. I’m gonna guess given your current state that you actually weren’t fine yesterday?”
“I didn’t wanna bother you,” Peter explained weakly.
“The only time you bother me is when you hide stuff form me out of fear of being a bother and in doing so, causing me to panic.”
Tony exhaled deeply, something in his chest uncoiling slightly. “C’mon, bud, we’ve talked about this. You need help, you ask for it, you’ll get it. You need to stop with the keeping everything to yourself because I always find out anyway and it just makes me worry.”
“I’m sorry,” he repeated with a sniffle.
“What have you had to eat and drink today?” There was silence on the other end and Tony clenched his jaw. “You gotta at least drink something, kiddo. You need to stay hydrated.”
“I’m gonna ask you something and you need to be honest with me. Did you just say you lost your voice last night so you didn’t have to talk to me and inevitably have me realise that you clearly needed help?”
“In hindsight, that was really dumb,” Peter admitted with a weak laugh.
Tony took in a deep, calming breath. “I’m glad you called me when you did. Even if you don’t need help, it’s nice to have it when you’re sick. Just sit tight and I’ll be there soon, alright?”
While the drive was usually about half an hour, Tony made it in twenty minutes. He would have been calmer if Peter was just sick, but his mention of his spider sense had him on edge. When he arrived at the apartment building, he hurried up to Peter’s floor and knocked on their door.
“Pete? I’m here. Let me in, kid.”
A few moments and a few indistinguishable sounds later the door opened, revealing Peter standing there, gripping the doorknob tightly and swaying slightly. Tony had thought he’d known what to expect based on the teenager’s voice over the phone, but standing there in front of him, he realised it was even worse than he thought.
Peter’s face was sunken, flushed and clammy, heavy bags under his eyes. His lips were dry and cracked and his hair stuck to his sweaty face. He blinked slowly, as if trying to process who was standing in front of him, only to wobble slightly and begin to fall. Tony insanely reached out and grabbed him by the shoulder to hold him up, wincing at the heat radiating off his skin.
“Shit,” he muttered, having to use more of his strength as Peter just continued sinking lower and lower. He immediately fumbled for his phone. “Kid, c’mon, you gotta work with me here - FRI, what’s his temperature?”
“Peter’s body temperature is currently one hundred and six point nine degrees Fahrenheit.”
“He is in hyperpyrexia and medical attention should be sought urgently. In the meantime, it is recommended you try to lower his body temperature as soon as possible. I suggest you run a cool bath and apply a cool damp washcloth to his forehead.”
“Okay, okay. Call Bruce!”
Tony hooked an arm under Peter’s knees and carried him to the bathroom, placing him in the bath still fully dressed and turning on the tap. The boy immediately protested, jerking in response to the cold water and deliriously trying to climb out.
“No, no, Pete, you need to stay, we gotta bring your fever down.”
“Tony? What’s going on?”
“Bruce!” Tony cried out in relief. “It’s the kid - he’s really sick, his temperature is through the roof, it’s at a hundred and six point nine. I’m- I’ve got him in the bath right - stay still, kid - in the bath right now but I don’t know what else to do.”
“First you gotta calm down, you can’t help him if you’re in a panic. Keep him in the bath for now, I’ll get a bed and a team set up ASAP. Get a suit ready so you can bring him straight to the tower on my signal.”
“Okay,” he breathed, nodding to himself and using his watch to summon suit before grabbing a wash cloth and holding Peter down so he could press it against his forehead.
“It’s s-s-so c-cold!” the teenager whined, writhing weakly, reaching a wet hand out and gripping the lapel of his suit jacket.
“It’s not, Underoos, you’re just super hot right now. That’s why I gotta do this.”
“I really am sorry,” he cried, tears forming in his eyes. “I’m sorry, can I p-please get out?”
He stared desperately at Tony, a pleading expression on his face. His eyes glistened in agony, his pupils boring into Tony’s and begging him to make it stop. Tony felt a painful tug at his heart, wanting nothing more than to take away his suffering and feeling utterly useless. While he knew , logically, that the cool bath was meant to help reduce his temperature, an instinctual part of him wanted to snatch the boy out of there and wrap him up. That same part of him sent chilling tidal waves of guilt that crashed angrily in his chest at the fact that he was the one who put Peter here, that he was forcing him to stay in the water that was making him so uncomfortable.
“This isn’t a punishment, Pete, Christ,” he whispered brokenly, finding it progressively harder to watch the boy’s struggle. "I’m only doing this because I have to, okay? The flu can be really dangerous, it can- it can- shit. I’m not mad at you, I promise. But you’re really hot and I know it doesn’t feel like but we’ve gotta cool you down. But Bruce is getting ready to treat you and when he’s ready we’ll get out of here, okay?”
Tony knew there would most likely be further unpleasant methods of reducing Peter’s body temperature, but he didn’t need to know the right now. He began scooping water up in his hands and pouring it gently over Peter’s head and running it through his hair, forcing himself to continue even when he flinched violently and tried to pull away.
“Peter, please, I need you to stop fighting me.”
The teenager stared at him through red-rimmed eyes for a moment before reluctantly nodding his head and weakly breathing out, “okay”. He screwed his eyes shut and tensed his body, only shaking slightly when Tony poured another lot of water onto his hair.
“Doctor Banner recommends that you depart for the tower now,” FRIDAY alerted him. “He will be ready by the time of your arrival.”
“Okay, kiddo, we’re done, how about that?” Tony breathed, helping Peter out of the bath. “I’m gonna get in the suit and fly you to the Medbay where Bruce will fix you, alright?”
Peter nodded weakly as the suit formed around Tony, and let himself be lifted up by his metal-encased arms. Only minutes later, he was stepping out of the suit in the medbay and handing him over to the medical team, who immediately intubated and ventilated him, as well as putting him on a drip.
He heard words like ‘hypoxia’, ’respiratory distress’ and ‘bronchoscopy’ and wondered how he could have possibly missed the kid’s lungs giving out. He had literally been about to leave to go to the kid’s apartment the previous night, but had decided against it when Peter insisted he was about to go to bed out of concern that he would be overbearing or hovering too much. He should have gone anyway just to check, he should have known Peter would be playing it down.
It didn’t matter how many safety measures he set up, Tony would always be worried about Peter getting hurt as Spider-Man. He had imagined every dangerous scenario he could think of, fretted over the many ways Peter could end up severely injured or dead from patrol. Out of all the risks he faced on a day-to-day basis, he had never considered this, never thought that the fucking flu might be what killed him.
The man glanced up as Bruce approached.
“I think I know what’s going on-“
“You ‘think’?” Tony snapped, his face crumpling in guilt seconds after the words left his mouth. “Sorry.”
The doctor just shook his head dismissively. “Most flu-related deaths-“ Tony flinched. “-aren’t caused by the actual influenza virus, rather a secondary infection - usually pneumonia - or an overreaction from the immune system. Usually white blood cells and antibodies are sent out to eliminate the threat and T cells destroy the affected tissue, which is predominantly in the respiratory tract and lungs. However, sometimes the response can be too strong and damage too much tissue, restricting the amount oxygen delivered to the blood, which… given Peter’s accelerated healing-“
“So, basically his body is destroying itself,” he interrupted weakly.
“Essentially,” Bruce nodded. “The bronchoscopy will show the extent of the damage, and if that is the case, then we can put him on ECMO, which basically improves the gas exchange, preventing further hypoxia and organ damage, allowing the lungs to begin to heal. We’ve also got him on antibiotics, ibuprofen and an IV, so once his fever breaks and his body realises it can stop attacking itself, it can work to repair the damage. He’s going to be okay, Tony.”
Tony let out a breath of relief. “You know, you could’ve started with that.”
“Maybe,” he agreed with a small smile. “But then you wouldn’t have listened to anything I said and then ask questions and then I’d just have to repeat everything I said.”
“Sorry, what did you just say? I wasn’t listening.”
Tony stirred awake from his position beside Peter’s bed when some kind of shuffling noise disturbed his sleep. He blinked slowly, sitting up straighter when he realised the source of the noise was Peter, writing something down on a notepad, restricted slightly by the ventilator. Seeing that the man was awake, Peter tore off the sheet and handed it to him.
This is getting repetitive.
A scoff passed through his lips. “Then stop almost dying.“
Peter’s small grin faded, a frown forming gnosis face before he started scrawling something down again.
I’m sorry for lying to you. That was super dumb.
“Kid, you never have to worry about bothering me, okay? I just want you safe and happy, and this whole ‘lying so that you don’t annoy me’ bullshit needs to stop. I can’t help you if you don’t let me, and when I can’t help you, it stresses me out. And for God’s sake, stop saying ‘I’m fine’ when you’re very not fine.”
Peter nodded solemnly before beginning to write again. Did you end up sanitising the lab?
“Yup. Glad I did too. I’m a total wuss when I’m sick.”
Yeah, I bet.
Tony scowled meanwhile Peter grinned, shoulder shaking slightly with laughter. “Don’t test me, Underoos, or I’ll sell your Spider-Man suit on Amazon.”
Four days later, after being gradually tapered off oxygen support until Bruce declared his lungs to be sufficiently healed, Peter was on his feet, back to his usual restless, bubbly nature. Naturally, May had been less than pleased to find out Peter had been struggling so much and refusing to ask for help, and even more so when she realised how severe the situation had been. To Peter’s credit, the kid had taken the scolding in his stride and acknowledged his mistakes, promising to not let anything like it happen again.
Tony made that same promise to himself.
Which is why, when Peter sneezed in the lab three weeks later, he may have overreacted. The teenager didn’t seem to think anything of it, but then Tony was shoving a box of tissues and a mug of tea in front of him and his eyes widened.
“I’m not sick, it was just a sneeze, I’m honestly-“
“FRIDAY, give me his body temperature.”
“Peter’s body temperature is currently at ninety-eight point five degrees Fahrenheit, sir.”
“See, I’m fine! No fever.”
Tony stared at him through slightly narrowed eyes. “Maybe I should get Bruce, just in case.”
“No! I do not need Bruce Banner checking on me for a freaking sneeze!”
“FRI, call Bruce.”
Peter let out a helpless whine, letting his head fall onto the desk with a thud.
“Great, now he’s gotta check for head injury, too.”